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      Putative Fossilized Fungi from the Lithified Volcaniclastic Apron of Gran Canaria, Spain

      1 , 2 , 3 , 3 , 3 , 3 , 3
      Astrobiology
      Mary Ann Liebert Inc

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          Geomycology: biogeochemical transformations of rocks, minerals, metals and radionuclides by fungi, bioweathering and bioremediation.

          The study of the role that fungi have played and are playing in fundamental geological processes can be termed 'geomycology' and this article seeks to emphasize the fundamental importance of fungi in several key areas. These include organic and inorganic transformations and element cycling, rock and mineral transformations, bioweathering, mycogenic mineral formation, fungal-clay interactions, metal-fungal interactions, and the significance of such processes in the environment and their relevance to areas of environmental biotechnology such as bioremediation. Fungi are intimately involved in biogeochemical transformations at local and global scales, and although such transformations occur in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, it is the latter environment where fungi probably have the greatest influence. Within terrestrial aerobic ecosystems, fungi may exert an especially profound influence on biogeochemical processes, particularly when considering soil, rock and mineral surfaces, and the plant root-soil interface. The geochemical transformations that take place can influence plant productivity and the mobility of toxic elements and substances, and are therefore of considerable socio-economic relevance, including human health. Of special significance are the mutualistic symbioses, lichens and mycorrhizas. Some of the fungal transformations discussed have beneficial applications in environmental biotechnology, e.g. in metal leaching, recovery and detoxification, and xenobiotic and organic pollutant degradation. They may also result in adverse effects when these processes are associated with the degradation of foodstuffs, natural products, and building materials, including wood, stone and concrete. It is clear that a multidisciplinary approach is essential to understand fully all the phenomena encompassed within geomycology, and it is hoped that this review will serve to catalyse further research, as well as stimulate interest in an area of mycology of global significance.
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            Recent studies on bacterial populations and processes in subseafloor sediments: A review

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              Big bacteria.

              A small number of prokaryotic species have a unique physiology or ecology related to their development of unusually large size. The biomass of bacteria varies over more than 10 orders of magnitude, from the 0.2 microm wide nanobacteria to the largest cells of the colorless sulfur bacteria, Thiomargarita namibiensis, with a diameter of 750 microm. All bacteria, including those that swim around in the environment, obtain their food molecules by molecular diffusion. Only the fastest and largest swimmers known, Thiovulum majus, are able to significantly increase their food supply by motility and by actively creating an advective flow through the entire population. Diffusion limitation generally restricts the maximal size of prokaryotic cells and provides a selective advantage for microm-sized cells at the normally low substrate concentrations in the environment. The largest heterotrophic bacteria, the 80 x 600 microm large Epulopiscium sp. from the gut of tropical fish, are presumably living in a very nutrient-rich medium. Many large bacteria contain numerous inclusions in the cells that reduce the volume of active cytoplasm. The most striking examples of competitive advantage from large cell size are found among the colorless sulfur bacteria that oxidize hydrogen sulfide to sulfate with oxygen or nitrate. The several-cm-long filamentous species can penetrate up through the ca 500-microm-thick diffusive boundary layer and may thereby reach into water containing their electron acceptor, oxygen or nitrate. By their ability to store vast quantities of both nitrate and elemental sulfur in the cells, these bacteria have become independent of the coexistence of their substrates. In fact, a close relative, T. namibiensis, can probably respire in the sulfidic mud for several months before again filling up their large vacuoles with nitrate.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Astrobiology
                Astrobiology
                Mary Ann Liebert Inc
                1531-1074
                1557-8070
                September 2011
                September 2011
                : 11
                : 7
                : 633-650
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Palaeozoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden.
                [2 ]Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, Odense, Denmark.
                [3 ]Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
                Article
                10.1089/ast.2010.0593
                21895442
                367c9c16-eaec-49b4-9550-d82b62d15419
                © 2011
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